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VCE English Language


The study of VCE English Language allows students to deepen their understanding and use of English through metalinguistic tools informed by linguistics. This approach offers new insights into their language choices, the values and assumptions behind others' language use, and the power of language to shape, control, and disrupt our lives. 

Students explore how language is structured, the history of English and its geographical and temporal variations, theories of language acquisition, and the impact of social and cultural differences on language. They examine the connection between language and power and how language constructs and deconstructs identity. This includes analysing their own language use and the language used around them, as well as examples from local, national, and international contexts. They study how language adapts to formality, situational and cultural contexts, purpose, and function.

Throughout the course, students read extensively to enhance their analytical skills and understanding of linguistics. They engage with a variety of historical and contemporary texts, including academic publications, from diverse contexts and forms.

VCE English Language Study Design (2024 - 2028)


Units 1 and 2:  Demonstration of achievement of outcomes and satisfactory completion of a unit is determined by evidence gained through the assessment of a range of learning activities and tasks. 

Units 3 and 4: School assessed coursework (50%)

End-of-year examination (50%)



Language is a fundamental aspect of human behaviour, enabling individuals to connect with the world, each other, and their communities. In this unit, students examine how language is organized to help users make sense of their experiences and interact with others. They explore the various functions of language and its nature as a complex system of signs and conventions. The unit also considers the relationship between speech and writing as dominant language modes and the impact of situational and cultural contexts on language choices. Additionally, students investigate how children acquire language and the stages of language acquisition across different subsystems.

In this unit, students focus on language change, a dynamic and continuous process. They examine the factors that contribute to changes in the English language over time and its global spread. By exploring texts from both the past and present, students analyse how language change impacts various subsystems, including phonetics and phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, discourse, pragmatics, and semantics. They also explore differing attitudes toward language change.

Students develop an understanding of how English has evolved and how its global spread has led to the diversification of the language. They investigate how English, now more commonly used as an additional or foreign language than as a first language, interacts with other languages, resulting in geographical and ethnic varieties and contributing to the decline of indigenous languages. Additionally, students consider the cultural repercussions of the spread of English.



In this unit, students investigate the use of English in contemporary Australian settings. They consider language as a means of interaction, exploring how written and spoken texts communicate information, ideas, attitudes, prejudices, and ideological stances. Students examine features of formal and informal language in both spoken and written forms, focusing on grammatical and discourse structures, word choice and meanings, and how words are combined to convey messages. They analyse the role of language functions and the context in which messages are conveyed.

Students learn to describe the interrelationship between words, sentences, and text, exploring how texts present messages and meaning. They understand that language choices are influenced by function, register, tenor, and the situational and cultural contexts. Situational elements such as field, mode, setting, and text type, along with the values, attitudes, and beliefs of participants and the community, affect language choice.

Additionally, students learn how speakers and writers select language features to establish the degree of formality within a discourse. They explore how language reflects relationships, power structures, and purpose through the use of specific language varieties, and how these varieties contribute to processes of inclusion and exclusion.

In this unit, students focus on how language establishes and challenges different identities. Contemporary Australian society uses many varieties of English influenced by geographical, cultural, and social factors. Standard Australian English holds prestige and plays a central role in shaping national identity. However, other language varieties are crucial in constructing social and cultural identities.

Students examine texts to understand how identities are imposed, negotiated, and conveyed. They explore how our sense of identity evolves through situations and experiences, shaped by self-perception and how others perceive us. Language allows individuals to express themselves and signal group membership. Students investigate how language distinguishes between "us" and "them," creating solidarity and reinforcing social distance.

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